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First books aren’t so much about learning to read or even understanding what’s printed on the pages. They’re about becoming familiar with the concept of reading and how we use books - concepts which as adults we take for granted. Reading from left to right and top to bottom; knowing that the words tell a story and that the pictures are related to the words. These ideas must first be accepted, before learning to read. Once they have grasped the concepts of print, it is only a small step to being able to read them.

Encouraging early confidence around books sets a child up with one of the most important skills they’ll ever need. It also encourages independent play, for the child who enjoys books will always have something to do by themselves.

There are many first books available. At this stage, the topic isn’t as important as spending time with your child looking at the books together, talking about what happens when you read. Starting at the front, point out the author and talk about the title and how it relates to the picture on the front. Go through each page doing the same, using your finger to show how the sounds you are making relate to what you are pointing at, demonstrating how the story or sequence always moves from left to right. Put the time in now and you’ll find they are reading them back to you sooner than you think!

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